Weather-related insurance payouts reached $1bn in February, driven largely by the snowstorms that hit Japan, a global catastrophe report has found.
In its latest monthly report, Impact Forecasting - the catastrophe modelling arm of reinsurance firm Aon Benfield - said total payouts in Japan alone were £585m as the Asian country dealt with record snowfall month which left 37 people dead and injured thousands. The report estimated economic losses for Japan of around $1.2bn.
Snowstorms that blanketed most of North America during mid-February, which damaged 50,000 structures and left 25 people dead, only incurred insured losses of $250m. A separate winter storm that hit the eastern US earlier in the month generated insured losses of more than $150m.
Both events saw a combined economic loss to the US of $750m, Aon said.
Meanwhile, the Global catastrophe report noted that the most significant windstorm in Europe during February was the surge of high winds and heavy rain that moved across the UK and Ireland. Windstorms also affected areas of France, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia and Scandinavia during the month, said Aon.
Total insured losses in Europe were estimated at $500m, with overall economic damages of $730m.
Adam Podlaha, head of Impact Forecasting, said: 'February was characterised by a wide spectrum of events, ranging from well-modelled windstorms affecting vast areas of Europe at the end of its winter season, to largely non-modelled floods affecting parts of South America and Asia.
'From time to time, a non-modelled peril such as the recent volcanic activity in Indonesia reminds us of the array of risks present around the globe.'
Additional flooding events were recorded in areas of Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Philippines and Fiji.